To make social media cos more liable, IT Act may see changes

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The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology is trying to make changes to sure sections of the Information Technology (IT) Act to make social media intermediaries, corresponding to Facebook and Twitter, and over-the-top (OTT) platforms, corresponding to Netflix and Amazon’s Prime Video, more accountable for the content material shared by their platforms.

A call on this regard has been finalised and may be introduced by the federal government as quickly as subsequent week, senior authorities officers stated. On February 12, IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad informed the Rajya Sabha that the federal government was working to convey new guidelines to make social media intermediaries more attentive to the federal government’s instructions in addition to its regulation enforcement companies.

One of the key changes being checked out is to amend Section 79 of the IT Act to make on-line firms “proactively trace, detect and prevent” illegal content material from being shared on their platforms.

Section 79 of the IT Act protects social media intermediaries by giving them immunity from authorized prosecution for any content material posted on their platforms. However, the safety offered fails if the federal government notifies the middleman that if “any information, data or communication link residing in or connected to a computer resource controlled by the intermediary is being used to commit the unlawful act and the intermediary fails to expeditiously remove or disable access to that material”.

“An intermediary cannot absolve itself of all responsibilities by claiming to provide just a service,” a senior authorities official stated.

Another key change, a senior official stated, could be for the middleman or the OTT platform to take away or disable entry to illegal content material both instantly or not later than 24 hours of “receiving actual knowledge in the form of a court order, or on being notified by the appropriate government agency.” The changes to the IT Act are being accomplished within the occasion of the confrontation between the federal government and Twitter. Officials, nevertheless, stated the changes have been additionally essential to “balance and check” the ability that such intermediaries wielded over residents.

“Under the IT Act, the definition of an intermediary is very broad and covers nearly all platforms which upload, manage, or allow sharing of content. We may at a later stage also look at an umbrella body like TRAI to oversee all these platforms and manage other functions,” one other official stated.

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